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Old 11-04-2010, 02:01 AM   #1
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nojojojo began at the beginning.
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Device: PRS 650
Sheet music and O'Reilly programming ePUBs: Reading experience?

Hi all,

After reading/watching reviews of the PRS 650, I have to say I am very impressed with the device. I have been wanting to get one, but before I do that, I thought I had better do some "simulation" of the eBook reading experience, since I haven't owned an eBook reader before.

My main book genres
My main reading materials on the reader will probably be programming books - specifically, some "In A Nutshell" software development titles from O'Reilly, and *maybe* some PDF music sheets while on the move.

Some "simulation" of reading experience on the PC
I deduced from online screenshots of the device and the published specs, that the actual screen estate of the 650 is about 3.5 x 4.7 inches (or 9 x 12 cm). So, what I did to simulate the 650 reading experience on my PC was to load up an O'Reilly ePUB (software develeopment title with code samples, and some tables) in Stanza on my windows desktop, and resize the reading window to the above dimension of 3.5 x 4.7 inches (or 9 x 12 cm). I then adjusted the font size to "sort of" match up with what I see in the 650 review pics.

"Simulation results"
My initial reaction form the above "simulation" is: It feels akin to reading a book through a small cut-out window. I lose the feeling of "context" that I have in a real book. With a real book:
  • I have immediate visual gauge of how far into the whole book I am at.
  • I can glance at the peripheral text and immediately feel where within a chapter/section I am at - what has come before, what will follow next.
  • Within a page, or between 2 facing pages, I can jump quickly back and forth without a page turn to re-read/reinforce/associate nearby concepts.
An eBook reader probably has some facility to achieve the above, but with less immediacy (e.g. I feel that even a "page X of Y" display is not as immediate as seeing how much into the whole stack of paper leafs you have currently thumbed through. With "X of Y", I feel that I have to go an extra step of translating that figure to a visual image of "oh ... that's roughly this thick a stack of pages I have covered and so there is this much stack of paper more to go". Anyway, probably not everyone feels this way.).

I'm afraid that the above simulation doesn't actually do justice to the REAL experience of reading on the 650, so I would like to seek some opinions from actual users:

Q1: When you read technical books (e.g. programming titles) on the 650, do you feel that you absorb the content/meaning slower, compared to on a physical book? Would you say that it is an effective gadget for reading programming books? (ePUB, PDF, some tables, line-art graphics, some code samples)

Q2: PDF Music sheets - how is the reading experience?

I understand that the above questions are also relevant on other eBook readers, but I thought to post it specically on the 650 category in case its superior text display quality offsets/nullifies the above 2 concerns that I have.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by nojojojo; 11-04-2010 at 02:21 AM.
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